The Ballyhoura Mountains span across south-east Limerick and north-east Cork. The area of mountains situated in Cork is mainly afforested with commercial conifers, while large areas within Limerick’s borders consist of blanket bog and heathland. The landscape is in general very rich in wildlife and geology.
Patchwork areas of blanket bog, dry and wet heath occur across the Seefin and Coolfree Mountains of the Ballyhoura range. A variety of mosses and heathers dominate the wet heath vegetation as well as bilberry bushes. The interspersed areas of dry heath are characterised by Bell Heather, Tormentil, and different varieties of sedges such as Green-ribbed Sedge. The remaining blanket bog areas support vegetation typical of the habitat, for example Common Bog Cotton, Deergrass and heather. Also of significance is the area of the rare and protected Killarney Fern found on the slopes of Carrigeenamrontrty Hill at the outer edges of the Ballyhoura Mountain Range.
The diverse habitats of the Ballyhoura Mountains, including the afforested areas within Cork’s borders, provide an important nesting ground for a variety of birds. Hen harriers and Peregrines are of particular interest in the area as they are both listed on the EU Birds Directive. The heath areas are ideal, and vital, foraging ground for the Hen Harriers.
The Ballyhoura Mountains are also home to the largest designated single bike trails in Ireland at 98km. The area also hosts the annual Ballyhoura International Walking Festival.
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